It was the last big challenge for the man dubbed as the world’s greatest living adventurer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Having become the first man to reach both poles by surface means, and the first man (along with Mike Stroud) to cross Antarctica unsupported, on his third attempt he has reached the highest place on earth, the summit of Mount Everest.
Adding to his collection of world-first records, Fiennes now becomes the first person to have crossed both poles and to have climbed the highest mountain, at 29,035ft. He also becomes the oldest Brit to have reached the summit of Everest, and at 65, he proves that the rather derogatory term ‘Old Aged Pensioner’ can be somewhat misleading; Ran is undoubtedly fitter than many people half his age. It’s not about the years, it’s about what you do with them.
In 2005, Ran had to turn back from the final part of the climb to reach Everest’s summit after suffering a heart attack. His second attempt in 2008 was also called short due to exhaustion, but never one to give up easily, he returned once again to secure another place in the history books.
Summiting Everest is no small task. That may sound like an obvious statement, but 210 people have died while attempting to reach the peak, and 150 corpses remain scattered around the mountainsides. It is common to pass dead, frozen bodies on the trek up to the top. That is not necessarily due to falls; Everest is surprisingly un-technical, you can virtually walk all the way to the summit, but it’s the altitude that will get you.
As usual, Fiennes was mounting his expedition to raise money for charity, once again supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care, which has a personal connection for Ran as his first wife, mother and sister all died from the disease within 18 months.
Our congratulations go out to Ran, his family and friends. He continues to be an inspiration to one and all.